BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for August, 1994

Monday, August 29, 1994

A NATION IGNORING GOD’S LAW

Good Morning!

Several months ago my cousin Fran made a round trip by train from Central California to San Diego and back again.  In that 48 hour period she was exposed to:

  • An earthquake that caused 10’s of billions of dollars in damage and took 50+ lives.
  • A suicide – The train upon which she was riding dismembered a man who had thrust himself in its path.
  • A hostage-taking situation in an apartment complex.

Admittedly a bit extreme for a two day period of time!  Nevertheless, reflective of the blight upon this Country.

With my cousin’s experience in the back of my mind I was reflecting in the book of Hosea that describes Israel during her lowest spiritual ebb when God simply removed His hand of blessing and protection from her.

I could have sworn I was reading about American in Time Magazine or  Newsweek:

“There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery;
They break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

“Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away;
The beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.

 “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…because you have ignored the law of your God…”  (Hos. 4:2, 3, 6)

 Living amidst a society that is crumbling under the weight of its sin, it is comforting to know that:

“…The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His loving kindness, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psa. 33:18, 19)

Therefore, let us make sure

 “Our soul waits for the Lord” because we understand that “He is our help and our shield.”  (Psa. 33:20)

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, August 22, 1994

“CIRCUMSTANCES DON’T MAKE OR BREAK A MAN…THEY SIMPLY REVEAL HIM.”

Good Morning!

CIRCUMSTANCES:  Are you surmounting yours or  allowing them to get the best of you?

According to Psalm 84:5 – 7 the OVERCOMERS OF CIRCUMSTANCES  have four characteristics:

#1  THEY DRAW THEIR STRENGTH FROM GOD:

     “How blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee…”  (Verse 5)

 When you purchase a new automobile there are two ways to get it off the lot.  Push it or drive it.  Many Christians push their way through life, never tapping into the energy sources that is rightfully theirs:  Jesus.

#2  THEIR HEART IS 100% GIVEN OVER TO GOD:

    “…In whose heart are the highways to Zion!” (Verse 5)

 Here is a person with a single purpose: The highway to Zion.  The highway to heaven.  This is the pilgrim with blinders on, headed in one direction:  Zion, his eternal home.

#3  THEY OVERCOME AND EVEN CHANGE THEIR DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES:

 “Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring, the early rain also covers it with blessings.”  (Verse 6)

 Baca is a place of weeping, sorrow, sterility and possibly death.  In this barren environment these “overcomers of circumstances” “make it a spring” of water, a source of refreshment, a place of hope and beauty.  Rather than being overwhelmed by their circumstances, they change them for good!

#4  THEY BECOME STRONGER AND STRONGER UNTIL THEY CROSS THE FINISH LINE

    “They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion.”  (Verse 7)

 These OVERCOMERS OF CIRCUMSTANCES “gain new strength, (mounting) up with wings like eagles.  They… run and not get tired…walk and not faint.”  (Isa. 40:31)

And they all make it:  “Everyone of them appears before God in Zion.”  (Verse 7)

 So, we have a choice: To live “under” the circumstances or rise above them.

What are your circumstances revealing about you?  Are they making you or breaking you

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, August 15, 1994

IF YOU WERE GOD, WHAT IS THE ONE SIN THAT WOULD CAUSE YOU TO DESTROY MANKIND?

Good Morning!

 ADULTERY

 MURDER?

 THEFT?

 In Noah’s day when God destroyed the earth with a flood:

“They were eating…drinking…(and) marrying…” (Lk. 17:27)

            The focus of their lives was on their family and social life.

 In Lot’s day when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, they were:

“Eating…drinking…buying…selling…planting…(and) building.”  (Lk. 17:28)

            The focus of their lives was also on their family, social life, and on their businesses!

These activities it would seem, are not exactly the kind that would merit the destruction of mankind!

Except for one small problem:  Their emphasis on family, social life, and business simply excluded God.  They didn’t hate God.   They just ignored Him.

In fact God was to them:

  •      Irrelevant
  •    On the sidelines
  •     Odd “Man” out

And in the Bible this kind of attitude spells IDOLATRY.

It was precisely because of their idolatry that God destroyed their generation.

Tell me, is your life centered primarily on your family, social life or business?  Or on God?

 If it is not on God, you have a serious problem:  IDOLATRY.

And IDOLATERS will not be in God’s heaven.   (ICor. 6:9)

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, August 8, 1994

PERHAPS ONE OF OUR PROBLEMS IS THAT WE KNOW TOO MUCH

Good Morning!

INFORMATION OVERLOAD:  Exposure to an endless array of tapes, sermons, books, articles, seminars, and Christian radio.

Why is it that with all this information at our fingertips our lives are often out of joint, our marriages strained, and victory over sin remains an illusive ideal?

For one thing, we wrongly assume that knowledge of the truth will change our lives, when in reality it only heightens our awareness, and increases our guilt.

Surprisingly, the Scriptures suggest that exposure to too much knowledge may actually be ruinous:

  • “…In much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”  (Ecc. 1:18)
  • “…The writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearing to the body.”  (Ecc. 12:12)
  • Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (II Tim. 3:7)

So what is missing?  Consider Hebrews 4:2:

“For indeed we have had the good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”

 EXPOSURE TO THE TRUTH IS OF NO VALUE TO US UNLESS THAT TRUTH IS TRANSLATED INTO FAITH AS EVIDENCED BY OBEDIENCE.  For three years Judas Iscariot lived with the Truth, but ended his life in suicide.  Familiarity with the Truth without application spelled personal destruction.

James reminds us to:

“…Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”  (Jms. 1:22)

 So, our problem lies not in the fact that we need more truth.  Rather, we simply need to respond in faith and obedience to the truth we already possess!

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, August 1, 1994

MOST OF US WOULD LIKE TO DO SOMETHING GREAT FOR GOD

Good Morning!

  • Like Billy Graham, or
  • Mother Theresa

We err in our thinking however, by equating “greatness” with bigness or notoriety:

–  Preaching to 100,000 people in a stadium, or

–  Winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Perhaps it is our hope that by doing some great work for God we can quell our sense of inner spiritual hollowness.  That somehow a great work for God might help us transcend the mundane sameness of our daily existence.  This kind of reasoning is at best, flawed:

God’s work, Jesus reminds us, has nothing to do with bigness or notoriety.  Rather,

           “…The work of God (is) that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.”       (Jn. 6:29)

THE GREAT WORK OF GOD IS TO BELIEVE GOD:  Simple faith that God can be trusted…whatever the circumstances.

  • Into a tough marriage?  How’s your faith that God will give you the needed grace?
  • Squeezed in a rough business situation?  Are you trusting God for wisdom?
  • Pressured to compromise higher ethical standards to compete?  Are you believing God to make up the competitive difference?

It is difficult for us to understand the fact that God simply is not impressed with grandiose Christian activity.  What does impress Him is uncomplicated, quiet faith…Faith that stands up amidst the most trying of life’s circumstances.  Faith that is evidenced by peace over panic…rest over restlessness.

Want to do a great work for God?  Then just believe Him.  Trust Him.  Rest in Him.

THE GREAT WORK OF GOD IS TO BELIEVE GOD.

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!